Standard Chartered X Card offering 50,000 miles anniversary spending promotion

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New and existing Standard Chartered X Card members can get "up to" 50,000 miles by spending S$20,000 over the rest of 2020...but it's hardly a gamechanger.

As the first anniversary of the Standard Chartered X Card draws near, the question on many a cardholder’s mind is: keep or cancel? 

Standard Chartered X Card: Keep or Cancel?

I shared some thoughts on the matter last month, but it looks like Standard Chartered has fired an opening salvo of sorts. The problem is: it’s still not enough to warrant a renewal, in and of itself. 

Standard Chartered’s new X Card offers

scb x card new offer

The Standard Chartered X Card’s landing page has been updated to reflect an “up to 85,000 miles” promotion for new cardholders, and an “up to 50,000 miles” promotion for existing cardholders. 

The main difference between these two promotions is that new cardholders get a 35,000 miles acquisition gift, so let’s look at that quickly before moving on to the 50,000 miles spending offer. 

New Cardholders: Acquisition gift of 35,000 miles

New Standard Chartered X Card members who pay the mandatory first year fee of S$695.50 will receive 35,000 miles, split as follows:

  SCB Points Miles
Pay S$695.50 annual fee^ 75,000 30,000
Bonus acquisition gift* 12,500 5,000
^Available to all Standard Chartered X Card members, regardless of new-to-bank status
*Only available to those who do not hold any Standard Chartered principal credit cards now, or in the last 12 months

As far as acquisition offers go, this is actually weaker than the one we saw previously. Back in March, it was possible to get 40,000 miles upon paying the S$695.50 annual fee, with no card spending required. 

New & Existing Cardholders: Up to 50,000 miles with S$20,000 spend (but more realistically, 34,000 miles)

Now the second part: Standard Chartered is offering both new and existing cardholders up to 50,000 miles when they spend S$20,000 from now till the end of 2020. 

More specifically, they’ll need to spend S$4,000 per period in one or more of five spending periods:

  • 15 Jul- 31 Aug 2020
  • 1 Sep- 30 Sep 2020
  • 1 Oct- 31 Oct 2020
  • 1 Nov- 30 Nov 2020
  • 1 Dec- 31 Dec 2020

If they meet the requirement in each period, they’ll receive up to 50,000 miles. Note the “up to” qualifier- this assumes that all your S$20,000 is spent in foreign currency:

If all S$20,000 is spent in FCY
  SCB Points Miles
Spend S$4K from 15 Jul- 31 Aug 5,000 (bonus)
20,000 (base)
2,000 (bonus)
8,000 (base)
Spend S$4K from 1 Sep- 30 Sep
5,000 (bonus)
20,000 (base)
2,000 (bonus)
8,000 (base)
Spend S$4K from 1 Oct- 31 Oct 5,000 (bonus)
20,000 (base)
2,000 (bonus)
8,000 (base)
Spend S$4K from 1 Nov- 30 Nov 5,000 (bonus)
20,000 (base)
2,000 (bonus)
8,000 (base)
Spend S$4K from 1 Dec- 31 Dec 5,000 (bonus)
20,000 (base)
2,000 (bonus)
8,000 (base)
  125,000 points 50,000 miles

If you spend the S$20,000 in Singapore Dollars instead (more likely, given how none of us are travelling anytime soon), you’ll end up with 34,000 miles instead:

If all S$20,000 is spent in SGD
  SCB Points Miles
Spend S$4K from 15 Jul- 31 Aug 5,000 (bonus)
12,000 (base)
2,000 (bonus)
4,800 (base)
Spend S$4K from 1 Sep- 30 Sep
5,000 (bonus)
12,000 (base)
2,000 (bonus)
4,800 (base)
Spend S$4K from 1 Oct- 31 Oct 5,000 (bonus)
12,000 (base)
2,000 (bonus)
4,800 (base)
Spend S$4K from 1 Nov- 30 Nov 5,000 (bonus)
12,000 (base)
2,000 (bonus)
4,800 (base)
Spend S$4K from 1 Dec- 31 Dec 5,000 (bonus)
12,000 (base)
2,000 (bonus)
4,800 (base)
  85,000 points 34,000 miles

Regardless of whether you spend in foreign currency or Singapore dollars, this is really just an incremental 0.5 mpd for spending S$4,000 per month (except the first period, where you have 1.5 months).

It goes without saying that by taking up this promotion, you’re also committing to pay S$695.50 for a second year, given that the spend period goes all the way to December 2020. In my opinion, it’s simply not worth paying that much for the chance to earn an incremental 0.5 mpd. 

The T&C of this offer can be found here

When will the bonus miles be credited?

The upfront gift of 35,000 miles (30,000 for the annual fee, plus a 5,000 bonus) will be credited by 30 November 2020 in the form of 87,500 SCB Rewards points.

The additional 2,000 miles for each of the five qualifying spend periods will be awarded in the form of 5,000 SCB Rewards points, according to the following timeline:

Spending Period Credited By
15 Jul- 31 Aug 2020 31 October 2020
1 Sep- 30 Sep 2020 31 December 2020
1 Oct- 31 Oct 2020 31 December 2020
1 Nov- 30 Nov 2020 28 February 2021
1 Dec- 31 Dec 2020 28 February 2021

What spending is eligible?

Standard Chartered is excluding certain transactions from counting towards the S$4,000 minimum spend in each of the five spend periods. It’s a fairly long list so I won’t copy the whole thing (you can view it from point 9.1 onwards in the T&Cs), but here are the important ones:

There is no exclusion for charity payments, interestingly enough, and it’s been confirmed that Standard Chartered credit cards do in fact earn points on donations. Likewise, education and government transactions are also not excluded. 

What can I do with SCB Rewards points?

Standard Chartered does have a wider range of transfer partners than most banks in Singapore. You can transfer your points to 9 airline frequent flyer programs and 2 hotel loyalty programs, although not all at the same ratio. 

Airline Programs
Loyalty Program Conversion Ratio
2.5:1
2.5:1
2.5:1
2.5:1
3:1
3:1
3.5:1
3.5:1
3.5:1
Hotel Programs
5:1
2.5:1

Standard Chartered has also run a handful of bonus transfer promotions in recent history:

It seems likely they’ll run further transfer promotions going forward, but their randomness means it’s hard to factor them into the decision to renew the card. 

Conclusion

The first batch of Standard Chartered X Cards were approved in end-July 2019, and every day that passes brings us closer to R-day: renewal day. 

As of right now, we still don’t know whether there will be any renewal miles for paying the 2nd year’s annual fee, much less whether any of the card’s benefits will be upgraded. 

While there’s nothing wrong with offering a bonus miles spending promotion, the Standard Chartered team needs to understand that the issue with the X Card was never (really) the miles earning rates. The S$535 Citi Prestige gets along just fine with offering 1.3/2.0 mpd, a mere 0.1 mpd more than the SCB X Card

The problem has more to do with the lackluster benefits of the X Card (especially since it’s SCB’s new flagship offering). Offering two lounge visits and nothing else is simply not good enough for a S$700 card. For customers to bite, there needs to be a clear path to recovering the annual fee, and unless something dramatic happens in the next few weeks, there could be a lot of new paperweights soon. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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chk

meh…..
I already chuck the X Card in the cupboard.
Not much funds for donations as I donated earlier in end-April when many charities were desperate for funds.

Jerry

That’s really interesting this card has a separate set T&C from other SCB cards

ithh

Just received a note from SCB that my annual fee for Year 2 is waived. Nice of the them.

Mark

Just received the following SMS: “As a 1st year anniversary appreciation of your support for StanChart X Card, we will be giving you an exceptional waiver of the annual fee. Have a great day!”

Suprememoment

Waived. Double confirm plus chop. Nice gesture. Actually SCB is pretty good competitive with their home loans too.

Cmdsea

Just received the following..

As a 1st year anniversary appreciation of your support for StanChart X Card, we will be giving you an exceptional waiver of the annual fee. Have a great day!

Suprememoment

Aaron. Given that the 2nd year fees are now waived and assuming local spend of 4k per month, does it mean that the x-card now has the highest earn rate for local spend (1.7 mpd)? But since the bonus miles per period is capped at 2000 miles, the optimal local spend per period is 4k, no more no less. Given that the transaction fees are higher..is it worth using the x card for foreign currency spend ?

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